On May 22, 2019, Google announced a new mobile search engine results page format. The only significant change, from an advertising perspective, was that the URL and Ad symbol were changed from green to black and moved above the ad headlines. Google also removed the box around the Ad symbol, which made the word “Ad” slightly less obvious.

Google Mobile Search Ad Format

The Result

In one of our mobile focused accounts, we saw an increase in mobile CTR of 29%. In addition, we saw mobile CTR increases across the majority of accounts. While we would not expect Google to release a change that significantly reduced mobile ad CTRs, it’s still worth noting that this change might have larger than expected positive effects for individual ad accounts. Not all accounts are seeing an uptick, but it’s worth checking your account to see if your mobile CTRs have increased after this change.

What it Means for Marketers

The bottom line is that mobile ad traffic is growing, and including it in your strategy is increasingly important. While this increase in mobile traffic is not a new concept, with 50% of all web traffic now coming from mobile, it is a good reminder of the importance of a mobile strategy for paid search, considering that a larger portion of mobile traffic is now coming through search ads. Work in B2B and think mobile traffic doesn’t matter? According to Google, 50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones. Regardless of the industry you are in, mobile traffic is becoming more and more important.

The biggest problem that mobile traffic faces is that on average, conversion rates are lower for mobile traffic than they are for desktop. While having lower conversion rates on mobile does not necessarily mean that mobile is less valuable, it does mean that you should approach mobile with a different strategy and KPIs than desktop. Perhaps your users start their journeys on mobile and finish on desktop, or maybe they want to convert on mobile, but the mobile conversion process is too difficult. If you can identify how your mobile users are trying to interact with your brand, you can create mobile-specific ad copy and landing pages. By utilizing this mobile-specific approach while also making mobile site speed a priority, you can capitalize on the increase in mobile traffic by providing the correct information for users at their particular stage in your purchase funnel in a quick and easy way.

Mobile traffic attribution must also be treated differently than desktop attribution. Tracking users across devices is already very difficult, and with Apple’s new ITP 2.2, tracking the same mobile user across more than a single day is becoming more difficult. This creates a situation where evaluating mobile ad traffic the same way you would desktop traffic can significantly undervalue the overall mobile contribution. These problems will not disappear, and as mobile traffic becomes more and more significant, creating a strategy to address goal-setting and attribution for mobile is essential to evaluating the success of your overall mobile strategy.

Need help with a mobile strategy for your paid ads? We’re happy to help.